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Breaking down the Jazz’s trade with the Warriors to get Eric Paschall

Eric Paschall dunks
FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2021, file photo, Golden State Warriors’ Eric Paschall (7) dunks during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings, File, Associated Press

On Wednesday the Utah Jazz continued their free agency wheeling and dealing by trading a future second-round pick to the Golden State Warriors for Eric Paschall.

Soon after the trade was reported, Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell took to social media to show his excitement at the prospect of playing with Paschall.

“Crazy full circle moment,” Mitchell tweeted along with photos of himself and Paschall. “Let’s get to it.”

Mitchell and Paschall have known each other since they were very young, both growing up in the same neighborhood in Westchester, N.Y., and playing AAU ball together and have remained close friends throughout the years.

If nothing else comes of the Jazz’s trade with the Warriors, it absolutely doesn’t hurt to add one of the best friends of your star player to the roster.

As for the nuts and bolts of the trade, the Jazz gave the Warriors a 2026, top-42 protected pick via the Memphis Grizzlies, in exchange for Paschall.

Why would the Warriors want to get rid of Paschall? Well, there seems to be two schools of thought here. The Warriors save about $12 million in luxury tax by not having Paschall on the books (even though his salary is $1.7 million). But the Warriors also could be looking to make a trade and having the roster spot open might be what they need to make it work. Either way, it was a low-cost move for both teams.

It will be interesting to see how the Jazz ultimately use Paschall. Though his rookie season with the Warriors was one of success — he was named to the All-Rookie first team in 2020 — where he averaged 14 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest, he regressed in his sophomore NBA season.

Paschall, at 6’6 had trouble playing either forward position while with the Warriors and as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau reported, his defense was also a point of regression for the Villanova product.

“His defensive issues — particularly on help side — were a source of frustration for head coach Steve Kerr,” Letourneau wrote.

Paschall also didn’t show much in the way of scoring. He can do a lot of things just ok but he’s inconsistent. His biggest strength is his strength. He does well when he pushes through the defense around the rim and he’s an above-70% free throw shooter.

All that being said, Paschall was successful for the Warriors when he played center in a small-ball lineup. For the Jazz, that gives them depth at and options for a small-ball lineup in a way that they were completely void of the last couple of years.

Also, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder just has a way of getting guys to buy into the Jazz’s defensive scheme and putting in an extra effort. That’s not to say anything about Kerr and his coaching staff, obviously after three championships during his tenure, they know what they’re doing. Rather, my point is only that if you think about someone like Jordan Clarkson, who was often considered a net-negative on the defensive end before he came to the Jazz, has improved and bought in while with the Jazz.

With the other offseason additions of Rudy Gay, Hassan Whiteside and Jared Butler, it is unlikely that Paschall breaks the Jazz’s regular rotation, but reliable and experienced depth was something that the Jazz were lacking last season and having Paschall, who’s current contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season, is an upgrade.